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Health Tip

Foot Acupressure

Acupressure is an ancient Chinese non-invasive technique used to treat or alleviate a wide range of ailments by the gentle application of pressure to certain points around the body. The foot in particular has a collection of acupressure points which in turn affect practically the whole body when stimulated, making foot acupressure quite a detailed technique. It is however possible to easily learn some of the basic processes which can elevate a foot massage to a whole new level, giving benefits around the body you would not necessarily expect.

Footbath

A proper foot acupressure session should always start with a footbath, carried out for around fifteen minutes using warm water and a mixture of herbs. The herbs are mostly easily available, although you may want to try out several different recipes to find the best one for you. If you consult a professional, they will be able to recommend which combinations are generally considered best for different people and different conditions.

After drying the feet and applying a moisturising lubricant, the foot acupressure can start, usually with a general, all over massage using the knuckles to apply pressure to all the points of the foot. Then the specific treatments can commence.

Foot chart

If you haven’t already seen one, have a look at a foot acupressure points chart. It is an extremely detailed diagram showing which specific points on the foot will affect which parts of the body, generally (although not exactly) laid out as if there was a picture of the body superimposed on the foot, with the head where the big toe is, and the groin where the heel is. Some pressure points are very small and specific, so care needs to be taken to properly identify the location and to know the correct way to stimulate the point.

Some foot acupressure shoes and shoe insoles have been produced and marketed, and there may be some benefits found from these. However, most professionals believe that each person needs to be mapped out more individually, and pressure applied more specifically than just walking and standing in order to gain the whole benefit of the techniques.

Scientific basis

Recent scientific studies trying to understand in western terms the process of foot acupressure (closely linked to, but not identical to foot reflexology) have shown that many of the points stimulated have nerve connections directly to the parts of the body claimed to be affected. There is a proven benefit to the circulation which appears to increase the nerve activity and thus the way in which the electrical energy can flow in the body. While this is not seen as an exact parallel to the concept of ‘chi’ or energy flow , it is becoming considered to be a good way for western minds to understand the process in a more scientific light.

Find a partner

Although foot acupressure can be learned and practised without any great risk, it is worth consulting a professional for a few sessions so that you have a better idea of what any guide you might refer to is talking about. It is always easier to apply to someone else rather than yourself, so find a foot acupressure partner if you can.



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